Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
Good evening everyone! It is so nice to be with you all here. This is a magnificent hall with beautiful people! The topic for today is Meditation. In order to meditate, we need to be in an informal atmosphere because a formal atmosphere or a formal setting is not congenial for meditation. You need to feel at home; really relaxed.
Many of the pleasantries that we exchange in our day to day life are a formality, like when you get off the plane and the air hostesses wishes you a nice day, but they don’t really mean it! I don’t mean any offence to them, but it is just not something that is coming from the depth of their heart, like when your mother or grandmother wishes you a happy birthday. When you feel the connection, your words get some power.
We convey more through our vibes than through our words. Suppose you have a puppy at home, after you come back from work, what does the puppy do? It goes crazy! It jumps all over you, expressing that it really loves you, isn’t it? We convey a lot through our vibes. I am sure you all can find out when a person is smiling at you when it is not really coming from inside. You know that it is just a formality, correct? Similarly, when your life takes on this level of just formal relationships with everybody around you, if it is not coming from the depth of your heart, sooner or later, you go into a state called depression. There is a certain dryness in life.
Now, you may ask me, "What is its connection with meditation?" We have come here for Meditation. I tell you, it has a lot to do with it.
Meditation is a remedy to lift you from the monotonous life that we all live in; a life without juice, a life without values, a life without connectivity to the people around us, and meditation can reverse this! In whichever field we are working, we need intuition and innovation, meditation can enhance both. Meditation can bring the energy back into our lives!
Meditation brings wonderment in our lives; it is a preface for meditation, for union, for yoga! In Sanskrit, there is an ancient saying, 'Vismaya Yoga Bhumika', the preface for yoga is wonder; a sense of ‘Wow’ when you look around you. Life has offered you so many occasions or opportunities to be in that sense of wonderment, that sense of ‘Wow’! When you miss this, you miss life itself! You go through that monotonous life - eating, drinking, sleeping and watching television; that’s it! Without even having time to say goodbye, you are gone!
Meditation makes life meaningful, it sustains that sense of wonderment in life.
Meditation makes life meaningful, it sustains that sense of wonderment in life. As children, we have all been in a sense of wonderment; we were in wonderland. We came into this planet with a sense of ‘wow’, a sense of innocence, a sense of belongingness, a sense of connectedness to everyone around us. What happened? Where did we lose it? We have actually not lost it, it has been with us all the time, it only got covered. Meditation is that which uncovers the true nature of who we were, who we are and who we will be! Meditation brings simplicity and innocence . It makes our intellect sharper, our emotions softer.
Don’t we want to be sensible and sensitive at the same time? There are those who are sensible and righteous, but not sensitive. And then there are others who are so sensitive, but they lose sensibility. Don’t we find this mismatch happening in ourselves, and people around us? Meditation brings the much needed balance between being sensible and sensitive, between the heart and the mind. If this balance is there, it results in happiness, which is what we all want, and what we all are running for!
Today, in the world over, it is being recognized that what we need to focus on, more than GDP, is Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH). Meditation holds the secret key for us; we can’t have that happiness without meditation. There is a lot of misconception about meditation. Some say it has to do with focus on the mind, some say it has to do with religious chants or praying to God. Meditation is not concentration; to my mind, meditation is the opposite. To do any work we need to put in effort, for meditation, you don’t need any effort. Meditation is an effortless way of relaxation.
If prayer is asking God for something, then meditation is telling God that I am here to listen to you, what do you have to say? Imagine, if a child keeps coming and asking you questions continuously, without even listening to what you have to say, how would you feel? Wouldn’t you feel frustrated? I think God must be in the same state! When you meditate, it is like saying, "Yes, I am here to listen to you, tell me what you have to say!" That is the perspective of meditation.
If prayer is asking God for something, then meditation is telling God that I am here to listen to you, what do you have to say?
Meditation unites people of all languages. Prayers can be in many languages; Hindus pray in Sanskrit, Christians pray in English, Jews pray in Hebrew, Buddhists pray in Sanskrit and Pali. While prayers could be in various languages with more or less the same essence, meditation transcends language, religion, nationality and even gender.
There are three golden rules for meditation that you need to keep in the back of your mind. You don’t have to remember them all the time, just keep them out there; they come up when you really need them.
When you are going to meditate, can you say these three things:
1. I want nothing. Even if you say, "I am thirsty, I want a glass of water", meditation is not going to happen. You better finish drinking that glass of water. This is the first golden rule..Just for those 20 minutes, say, "I want nothing".
You may think, "I don’t want to be a monk or a recluse, I have many things to do!" Yes, my dear, agreed, you want many things, but just for 20 minutes, can you take off that raincoat, sit still and want nothing?
2. I need to do nothing.
3. I am nothing. If you think you are a very intelligent person, or the worst person, or a fool, then also there is no chance for meditation. You know that saying -- a rich man cannot go through the eye of the needle. Similarly, if you think you are rich, or poor, or the holiest person, or the worst sinner, then also meditation is not possible. We need to put aside all the labels that we put on our self for a while, and say, ‘I am nothing, I want nothing and I need to do nothing’. These are the three golden rules for meditation to happen. From movement to stillness, and from sound to silence, is the journey of meditation.